January 16th was our 9th Covid donut day in Victoria after the recent outbreak, and we were keen to be out in the bush again with friends. The middle of summer had turned on ominously stormy conditions the previous day. But Saturday dawned cloudy and mild with crisp fresh air, ideal for walking.
Twenty-two MUAB members and four visitors turned out to Kinglake National Park. A small group walked the Lyrebird loop and down to the Falls viewing platform. They returned via Wallaby track, Boundary track and Goodenia track for a 5.5 km loop. Most of us walked the opposite direction along the Ridge track, Running Creek track and Masons Falls circuit, with a diversion to the summit of Mount Sugarloaf, about 14.5 km all up.
The view from Mount Sugarloaf, above, was well worth the detour, Running Creek was indeed running, and the little fern gullies are gems that invite you return with a cup of tea and time to read or reflect. The standout view is that of Masons Falls – a stunning sight across the gorge from the viewing platform. Some enterprising visitors had even set up their beach tent on the platform – an unusual location, but why not?
The bush has regenerated considerably since the Black Saturday fires, which is great to see. Unfortunately, there are not too many of the stately old trees left alive, and it will take a long time for the bush to recover to pre-fire conditions. Nevertheless, it is heartening to see the progress to date. Parks Victoria has a master plan for the area, Kinglake being the largest National Park close to Melbourne. and we noted quite a few visitors on the day, from a diverse array of ages and ethnicity, all enjoying the views and being in the great outdoors. There was even a young cocker spaniel who had turned up not knowing the rules, so was being carried the entire way by his owner. I guess if your paws don’t touch the ground, you could argue you are not really in the national park.
It was a real pleasure to be on the trail again, following so much disruption in 2020. Conversations, as ever, flowed freely. Some of us had got quite fit over the lockdown, others a little less so, but all managed well.
We greatly enjoyed the camaraderie on the day and finished our conversations over excellent coffee and tasty treats at the Flying Tarts bakery & café in Kinglake West.
Thanks to Mick for his work in planning, scoping and leading the walk.
Early morning on the scoping walk
Discussion of compass use
Atop Mount Sugarloaf
Lunch on one side of Running Creek track
And lunch on the other side
Tom demonstrating a carving
The magnificent Masons Falls